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DPAC demo supports High Court ESA claimants

24 November 2021

Disability Rights UK joined a number of other DPOs and disability charities at the High Court in London last week in support of a case being heard about the Government’s failure to pay £20 per week  uplift to Disabled claimants on legacy benefits during the pandemic.

William Ford, a solicitor with Osbornes Law, who is representing the two claimants, said:

“This unfairness calls for a properly evidenced justification, particularly as almost two million Disabled people are disproportionately affected by this decision and the pandemic generally.

“Thus far the government has failed to provide any objectively verifiable reason for the difference in treatment of people in essentially identical circumstances.”

In February 2021, a research report by the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) found that 82% of Disabled claimants had to spend more money than they normally would, mostly on food and utility bills.

A demonstration outside the court was attended by organisations including Disabled People Against Cuts, Z2K, the MS Society and a number of politicians including Marsha de Cordova MP, John McDonnell MP and Wendy Chamberlain MP. 

Marsha de Cordova said: “This is another example of the hostile environment this government has created for Disabled people. It’s a shame we always have to go to court to get justice. Disabled people cannot continue to be treated  as they have been by this Government. For Government to claim they can’t change their IT is total and utter rubbish. They can change the system.”

John McDonnell said: “This is such a just cause. What we’ve said time and time again is how is it that Disabled people on legacy benefits are discriminated against by the system itself. For many of my constituents – many of them are in severe debt and that is putting pressure on them and intense mental stress.

Paula Peters from DPAC said: “My local council gave me no support. I couldn’t get shopping delivery slots. They were gone. Without my fellow Disabled people I doubt I would be speaking to you today. I had to make stark choices because I wasn’t included in a £20 uplift. It was do I eat today or do I heat my home today. We shouldn’t have to make stark choices in  the 21st century.”